Laura Veirs on MPR

Five weeks on the road has certainly honed the vocal harmonies of Laura Veirs and The Hall Of Flames. Listen to this intimate in-studio performance on MPR’s The Current:

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Laura Veirs (Photo David Belisle)


St. Paul, Minn. — Laura Veirs didn’t get involved with music until college. (Carleton College in Minnesota) She eventually joined an all-girl punk band, before turning to folk and country music.

She released her self-titled, self-released debut in 1999 then teamed up with producer and drummer Tucker Martine, to work on a full-band effort (including an appearance by Bill Frisell) in 2003’s release “Troubled by the Fire”.

In 2007, she released Saltbreakers, recorded in part at Johnny Cash’s Tennessee cabin.

In January, she released her latest project, “July Flame” on her Raven Marching band label.

She stopped by The Current studio and performed: “Make Something Good,” “Sun Is King,” and “Carol Kaye.”

Laura’s Blog Update No. 18

Denver, CO. Whew! We are getting TIRED, but somehow we keep trucking along and enjoying ourselves, with the occasional irritable outbreak or teary breakdown. We’re 7 plus weeks into this tour, so this is to be expected at this point. Below are pics from the drive from Nebraska to Colorado and a visit with my mom (and dad) in Colorado Springs. Last night in Denver someone from the audience told me I was “stark raving mad” for traveling so pregnant. So be it! Home stretch!

Laura’s Blog Update No. 17

Minneapolis, MN. Driving across the frozen wastes yesterday I felt a strange satisfaction knowing I had a suitcase full of clean laundry and a fully charged phone and laptop.  Ah, simple accomplishments on the road!

Thanks to all who came out to our recent shows in St. Louis (Jim James paid us a surprise visit, we were nervous, what a sweetheart), Chicago, Madison, Rock Island and Minneapolis.  

New Top Five “Ooher-Aaher” List: 1. Chicago 2. Arlington 3. Amsterdam 4. Boston 5. Minneapolis

In the home stretch now… I get to see my dear ol’ mom and pops in Colorado Springs tomorrow. We’re going to see Avatar and take a hike in the Garden of the Gods.

Laura @ NPR “Tiny Desk”

If Laura Veirs was in a songwriting rut prior to recording her lovely and spare new album, July Flame, it doesn’t show. Perhaps the return to pared-down and simply constructed songs worked to arouse musical inspiration, because the record is among her best. For the most part, the songs on July Flame orbit around Veirs’ acoustic-guitar playing and voice. But it’s her idiosyncratic lyrics and melodic flourishes that imbue her music with sun-dappled warmth; hers is the sound of immense, wide-open spaces.

All the perfectly chosen instrumentation in the songs’ arrangements — the fluttering plucks of strings, the subtle vibrato of a marimba, the stirring backing vocal harmonies, the swooping violins — come courtesy of producer Tucker Martine. There’s a noticeable comfort between them; Martine has now worked with Veirs on her last six albums, and he seems to know just how to augment her delicate voice with just the right touches to let her shine.

When a very pregnant Veirs settled in for this performance behind Bob Boilen’s desk — a venue that can be a little awkward for many musicians — that same warmth and intimacy shone through. After a slight musical miscue, endearing enough to keep in the final video, Veirs and her small backing band treated the NPR Music offices to a three-song set that introduced us into her musical world.

Laura’s Blog Update No. 16

St. Louis, MO.  Dhani says that if anyone can tell us how many bricks there are in the city of St. Louis, they get a free cd.

For those who are curious, here’s the update on Top Five Winners of the International To the Country “Ooher-Aaher” Contest: 1. Arlington 2. Amsterdam 3. Boston 4. New York 5. Chapel Hill

Notes on pix below: 1. Alex’s real motivation for playing music. 2. The Mohawk in Austin. 3. Texas knows how to grow a cactus 4. The legendary Ralph White (banjoist/fiddler/arborist extraordinaire) in front of his homemade sauna 5. Shucks! Me and my sweetie (out of chronological order) 6-8. Downtown Denton, TX 9. Dhani and his new BFF at some random truck stop in Oklahoma 10. My new hat 11-18. Cold, clear St. Louis.

Thanks to the cute Nashville ladies who knit us an even cuter lime green baby hat!  Off to Chi-town in the am… We are all tired but feeling good!

Laura’s Blog Update No. 15

Waco, TX. Notes about the pics below: 1. Dhani and Nelson looking classy in our classy green room at 506 in Chapel Hill. 2. Eric thinks he can take down this dog down. 3. Nelson and his new BFF. 4. It’s getting harder and harder to eat well as we do the long drives. We’re doing our best to stock up on good food at groceries along the way. Here I am eating greens at a Subway near Atlanta, GA. (It was fun playing peach songs in the Peach State). 5. Waco in the snow. 6. Jane Lane.


Laura’s Blog Update No. 14

Philadelphia.  A rough transition from the other side of the pond — hours of layovers and band mates stuck in Munich and everyone getting colds but great shows in the States so far — a wonderful feeling! — long drives and lots of interviews and not much time to rest — visits with dear old friends — a snowy walk in Central Park — RIP John Lennon.

Breaking & Entering: Laura Veirs

From Billboard:

The folk singer/songwriter’s seventh studio album, “July Flame,” recently debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers and Folk charts.  It has also been garnering unprecedented media attention, earning overwhelmingly positive reviews from NPR and the New York Times, among others.

But Veirs isn’t fazed by the attention. Instead, the Portland, Ore., native watches how the media hype translates into fan appreciation — and enjoys it…

Read the whole article here.

Laura’s Blog Update No. 13

Hello, an explanation of the pics below…

1. Back on the home front, Tucker got our cat Carlos a “cat cam”. Here is Carlos looking humiliated with my dad, Val. Carlos took a bunch of pictures around the neighborhood. Grass and branches and car mufflers and neighbor’s back yards.  As Tucker says, “We have a real artist on our hands!”

2. Here is Tim in front of the gig we played in Hamburg. We played in that bunker! Actually the place was really nice, believe it or not. A delicious home-cooked meal and a great crowd and a warm green room.

3. The stairwell in the bunker. Apparently this building is indestructible.

4. Windmills upon windmills across Germany. Go Germany!

5. Tim has had it with Nelson.

6. Tim and Alex on the ferry from Germany to Denmark.

7. The icy waters.

8. Backstage in Lund, Sweden: a cute picture of our friend Bill Frisell and band circa 1991.

9. Norwegian (Hoarfrost) Wood(s).

10. Tim, eating those insane salty Scandinavian fish candies.

11. Fun times on the six hour drive to Oslo.

12. “The pals.”